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Catawba College Honors '70 Alumnus with O.B. Michael Award

May 16, 2015

Category: Alumni, Events

Cjuniemichael15.jpghester A. "Junie" Michael III was honored May 16 during Catawba College's Commencement Exercises as the recipient of the O. B. Michael Award.

This prestigious award, presented annually since 1938 by the Catawba College Board of Directors of the Alumni Association, is given to a graduate of the College who has made an outstanding contribution to the College and/or the larger society. Originally called the Citizenship Cup, it was established by the Reverend O.B. Michael, Class of 1919, in memory of his father, an alumnus of Catawba College and pioneer teacher and preacher.

Michael of Mooresville is a 1970 Catawba College alumnus and trustee. He owns Parkway Ford in Winston-Salem and is the principal partner in 25 other automobile dealerships, as well as other varied business endeavors.

Catawba President Brien Lewis said in presenting the award that Michael learned early in life "the importance of hard work and of putting forth his best possible effort" by growing up on a farm in Davidson County.

While he majored in business at Catawba, during the summers of his college years, he worked at a car dealership in Winston-Salem. Two years after his Catawba graduation, he was promoted to sales manager of that Winston-Salem dealership.

He is a former board member of the Ford Dealer Advertising Association, the Better Business Bureau for North Carolina, the United Way of Forsyth County, the Advisory Council of Wake Forest University's School of Business and Accountancy, and Wachovia Bank of N.C. In 1996, he was tapped for service on Catawba's Board of Visitors but only served there one year before he moved to the College Board of Trustees. In 2000, he received Catawba's Distinguished Alumnus Award and in 2006, he was honored with the prestigious Adrian L. Shuford Jr. Award for Distinguished Service. He was inducted into the Ketner School of Business Hall of Fame at Catawba in 2008.

His support for his alma mater has been consistent for many years. He has made significant contributions to several of Catawba's campaign efforts and gives regularly to the annual fund. He knows the importance of giving deserving students some assistance as they pursue their college education and has had a hand in establishing several scholarships at Catawba for that purpose. He established the June and Marie Michael Scholarship in memory of his parents. He, along with Joellen Parks and family, established the Michael and Parks Scholarship in memory of Hubert Parks, Junie Michael's late partner and mentor. He also established the Parkway Ford Annual Scholarship Fund to provide assistance to his employees and or their children pursuing a degree at Catawba.

In addition to his financial contributions, he gives of his time, which with his business interests, Lewis said, has become one of his rarest commodities. He served as chair of Catawba's successful $35 million endowment campaign launched in 2004, and he currently serves as chair of Catawba's Board of Trustees Institutional Advancement Committee.